Islamabad: Federal Minister for Information, Fawad Chaudhary, and Advisor to Prime Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Babar Awan, have given details of government’s proposed electoral reforms in a press conference on Monday.
The 49 proposed amendments include such major changes to the electoral system as electronic voting, giving voting rights to overseas Pakistanis and ending secret ballots for Senate elections
Stating that the proposed reforms will be put before all major stakeholders, Babar Awan said that section 103 will be amended to include electronic voting machines while section 94 will be amended to give voting rights to overseas Pakistanis. A new section under 213A will make it compulsory for political parties to hold annual conventions. In another amendment aimed at democratizing political parties, section 202 will be amended to include a clause that parties with 10,000 registered members be registered.
Under an amendment to Section 15, electoral candidates will be given the opportunity to challenge polling staff.
Expressing the government’s desire to delimitate constituency on the basis of registered voters, the Special Advisor said that electoral rolls will be prepared in accordance with NADRA data. Babar Awan also specified that two constitutional amendments will be required to change the secret ballot in senate to open ballot along with the amendment for allowing overseas Pakistanis the right to vote.
Fawad Chaudhary told members of the press that the government wants the proposed reforms to go ahead with the consensus of the parliament. He clarified that it was Prime Minister Imran Khan’s desire that the reforms go through with all the political parties participating in the process. He warned that if the opposition is not ready for electoral reforms, then they will be placing hindrances in the democratic process.